Opinion: A worthwhile conversation

ajc.com

Credit: John Spink

Credit: John Spink

Most all metro Atlantans would agree that we live in a pretty good place. It’s true.

It often takes leaping down into weedy details before we begin to part ways on just how well this great region’s faring in the incessant struggle to maintain a competitive quality of life and economic primacy.

That’s perfectly normal. Robust, productive discussions, even disagreements, can make us stronger by pressure-testing pet theories, thinking and bolted-down beliefs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a history of encouraging tough debate and bold steps to resolve issues. We’ve long believed that’s a strength of this metro. Here’s how editor Henry Grady described it in 1885: “Atlanta is built in the heart of a united people. Her glory is the comradeship of her sons. Her boast and her strength has been, that her name has had the power to fuse all factions, bury all differences, silence all bickerings. To this, more than to all other things combined, she owes her greatness.”

That was on our minds when the AJC launched our Atlanta Forward initiative in 2009. We described it then as a community discussion and we believe it remains so today.

Here’re some questions we posed then:

  • What will it (Atlanta) look like 30 years from now?
  • How is Atlanta positioned to come out of these difficult economic times?
  • Do we have the right pieces in place for future economic growth?
  • Do we have first-class schools that will turn out workers and leaders for the future?
  • Do we have a transportation system that makes it easy for people to get where they need to go?
  • Do we have a government structure able to address key issues?

These inquiries remain relevant today and informed our thinking around this month’s latest installments of our Atlanta Forward news reporting.

Based on that work, we wanted to keep the conversation going. So we asked local leaders for their thoughts on our reporting and the issues it raised. The responses received are published below, along with excerpts from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s 2015 State of the City speech.

We’re grateful for the thoughts expressed. And we believe this conversation must continue if metro Atlanta is to attain its full potential.